The Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art is responsible for over 60,000 works spanning more than 7,000 years, from Neolithic times to the present. Included are objects from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Tibet, India, Turkey, and Iran as well as ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Near East. Many of the objects derive from Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions. All are held by the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
The East Asian holdings range from folding screens and scroll paintings to prints, ceramics, sculpture, metalwork, lacquers, and textiles. Sculptures and wall paintings from a religious context give visual manifestation to the Buddha and other important ﬁgures from Buddhist texts. Ancient Chinese bronze vessels used in ancestor worship rituals, and exquisitely crafted jade ceremonial objects reference the traditions of funerary art, while ﬁne Chinese and Korean ceramics, Japanese lacquers and paintings reﬂect the daily life of the East Asian elite.
Devotional and secular works from Islamic cultures express the dynamic history of the diverse peoples in Western, Central, and South Asia who produced them. The Islamic holdings, especially strong in works on paper, include brilliantly patterned textiles, intricately worked metal wares, austere calligraphies, iridescent ceramics, and exquisite illustrations to works of poetry.
Straddling Europe, Africa, and Asia, the ancient and Byzantine art from the Mediterranean includes works of diverse media and scale, ranging from gems and jewelry to bronzes, ivories, glass, wood, textiles, and terracotta sculptures, to mosaics and freestanding and architectural sculptures in stone. Included are an extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins and ﬁne examples of black- and red-ﬁgured painted vessels. The collection represents civic, private, and funerary art along with artifacts from everyday life.